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What Are the Physical Signs of Cocaine Abuse?

a person leans on their folded hands while showing the physical signs of cocaine abuse

The stimulant drug cocaine has wide-ranging effects on your body’s normal function. Some of these effects are only obvious to the person who has taken the drug. However, others may be apparent to an outside observer who pays close attention. These apparent indicators that someone is using cocaine are commonly referred to as signs, not symptoms. Many such signs are physical in nature. If you notice them, cocaine addiction treatment may be the right choice for the affected person.

Understanding How Cocaine Abuse Affects the Body and Brain

Cocaine used to have specific, legitimate uses in medical treatment. However, this drug is no longer classified as a medical treatment due to its side effects and dangers. Any illegal or illicit use of cocaine qualifies as an example of drug misuse. An older, popular term for the same improper use is drug abuse.

It’s essential to understand how cocaine abuse affects the body and brain. Taking the drug stimulates a higher level of activity inside your brain and spinal cord. In turn, this higher activity level helps explain the classic effects of cocaine use.

Those effects include euphoria and increases in energy and mental alertness. They also include changes in your regular physical function. Some of these changes appear as symptoms only the affected person notices directly. Others appear as noticeable signs that anyone can potentially observe.

The Short-Term Physical Signs of Cocaine Abuse

Many of the physical signs of cocaine abuse arise shortly after someone takes the drug. The most typical short-term signs include:

  • Dilated, i.e., narrowed pupils
  • Sweating caused by body temperature increases
  • Trembling or twitching muscles

Some people who abuse cocaine end up overdosing on the drug. Physical signs of an overdose include vomiting, breathing difficulties, and seizures. A person who overdoses on cocaine may also experience a heart attack or stroke. In addition, they may fall into a coma.

Longer-Term Warning Signs of Cocaine Abuse

Left untreated, a pattern of cocaine misuse can continue indefinitely. Over time, a person who abuses the drug may develop any number of physical problems. The longer-term warning signs of cocaine abuse often depend on the manner in which the drug is taken. For example, if someone you know typically snorts cocaine through their nose, you may notice things such as:

  • Recurring or ongoing nosebleeds
  • A frequent or constant runny nose
  • An unusually hoarse speaking voice
  • Problems swallowing normally

There are also potential signs of cocaine abuse in someone who smokes the drug in the form of crack. These signs may include a recurring or constant cough. They can also include shortness of breath and other signs of new or worsened asthma.  In addition, physical signs may include the onset of pneumonia.

What about physical signs of cocaine abuse in someone who injects the drug? You may notice soft tissue infections or skin infections near the inner elbow or in other locations. You may also notice veins that have scarred over or collapsed entirely. There are no specific outward signs in someone who orally consumes cocaine.

Find Out More About Recognizing Signs of Cocaine Abuse at Northpoint Colorado

Want to learn more about recognizing signs of cocaine abuse? The addiction specialists at Northpoint Colorado can help. We can also provide you with information on recognizing the potential psychological signs of a cocaine problem.

Looking for treatment resources for a friend or family member who abuses cocaine? You’ll find them at Northpoint Colorado. We feature programs that can help your loved one stop using cocaine and remain cocaine-free over time. For more details, call us today at 888.231.1281. You can also complete our brief online contact form.